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Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Southend United


Wycombe Wanderers entertain Southend United on Saturday in their 46th and final league game of the season.


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 3rd place with 77 points and Southend in 13th spot with 61 points.

Southend's Away Record...Won 6 - Drawn 6 - Lost 10 - Pts 25 (Rank-15)

Wycombe's Home Record..Won 11 - Drawn 6 - Lost 5 - Pts 39 (Rank-5)


Well here we are again. After more ups and downs than a stripper's pole on payday, we've reached the end of the season needing to do the business at Adams Park in order to clinch promotion for the second time in twenty-four months.

It didn't go to plan on the pitch last time, but the gods of football were on our side that day, and despite a dismal 2-1 defeat to Notts County, a infintesimally better goal-difference than Bury allowed the somewhat forced celebrations to go ahead as planned.

We won't be so lucky this time. The only way it can be decided on goal difference is if we lose and Shrewsbury draw, and if that happens, it's us who will be shuffling dejectedly down Hillbottom Road while the Shrews hit the message boards with talk of phantom goals and karma.

It's pretty simple really. We're a point ahead, and if we at least match Shrewsbury's result they can't catch us, and as we have to assume they'll beat Oxford, we need to win too.

Normally this situation would be enough to leave Wycombe fans fearing the worst, but surprisingly, and to the credit of Waddock and his players, the prospect of a 'must-win' game doesn't seem quite as daunting as it would have done in recent years.

Don't get me wrong, there have been times this season when the Blues have looked short of goals and over-generous in defence, but there's a resilience and determination about the current crop, and they seem to have found their form at precisely the right time.

There was a feeling of anticlimax after the Notts County game in May 2009, but no-one was particularly surprised. In contrast, it would be a shock if the likes of Nikki Bull, Dave Winfield, Stuart Lewis, Matt Bloomfield and Gareth Ainsworth allowed promotion to slip through their fingers without a fight.

Victory would not only secure promotion for the current players, it would also give them 80 points - the highest tally a Wycombe side has managed since joining the football league. They would also collect 40 points in the second half of the season, something the Blues have never done before.

Standing between Wycombe and league-one are a Southend United side that have already beaten them once this season, winning 3-2 at Roots Hall in February courtesy of a stoppage time goal from Craig Easton.

That victory set the Shrimpers off on a nine-game unbeaten run at Roots Hall, but any chance of a late charge to the play-offs was thwarted by an eight-match winless streak on the road - their last away win coming at Barnet on 29th January.

Demonstrating that there's a fine line between success and failure - after forty-five games Wycombe have scored only five more league goals than Southend and have conceded only four fewer, and yet the Blues are on the verge of promotion while the Shrimpers are in the bottom half of the table.

There's always a danger that former players will come back to haunt you, and in that department, Southend have Anthony Grant and Lee Sawyer - who actually played for the Blues against Notts County two years ago.

However, after his red card last weekend, we won't be seeing Sawyer on Saturday, and Grant could also miss out through injury. Striker Barry Corr has been a thorn in Wycombe's side on several occasions, and he's also struggling to be fit for the game.

The Blues are likely to stick with the side that started the last two matches.

Well, that's it, there's not much more to be said. Wycombe gave their best performance of the season at Bury last week, and if they can dig that deep again on Saturday, we should be okay.

Last time we went up with a whimper, this time we're going up with a roar.


Here are all the stats......


Southend's last five games (All Competitions)

LG2: Port Vale (A)..........Drew 1-1

LG2: Bradford (H)............Won 4-0

LG2: Stevenage (H).........Won 1-0

LG2: Macclesfield (A)......Drew 0-0

LG2: Burton (H)..............Drew 1-1



Wycombe's last five games (All Competitions)

LG2: Oxford (A)..............Drew 2-2

LG2: Northampton (H).....Drew 2-2

LG2: Torquay (A)............Drew 0-0

LG2: Crewe (H)................Won 2-0

LG2: Bury (A)..................Won 3-1



Southend Goal Stats (52 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 61...Cups: 11...Total: 72

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 53...Cups: 10...Total: 63

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 24...Cups: 6.....Total: 30

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 25...Cups: 5.....Total: 30

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 12...Cups: 1.....Total: 13



Wycombe Goal Stats (51 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)...........Lg: 66...Cups: 11...Total: 77

Goals Conceded (Total).......Lg: 49...Cups: 11...Total: 60

Goals Scored (Home)..........Lg: 35...Cups: 7.....Total: 42

Goals Conceded (Home)......Lg: 24...Cups: 10...Total: 34

Clean Sheets......................Lg: 17...Cups: 1.....Total: 18



Breakdown of goals scored (League games only)


Southend

4 goals x 3

3 goals x 2

2 goals x 11

1 goal x 21

0 goals x 8


Wycombe

4 goals x 3

3 goals x 2

2 goals x 16

1 goal x 16

0 goals x 8



Southend's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Barry Corr..................21 (inc 3 pens)

Ryan Hall.....................9

Anthony Grant..............7

Blair Sturrock...............6

Craig Easton................5

Bilel Mohsni..................5

Matthew Paterson.........4 (inc 1 pen)

Four other players have each scored two goals.

Six other players have each scored one goal.

Southend have benefitted from one own-goal



Wycombe's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Scott Rendell............18 (inc 9 pens)

Gareth Ainsworth......11

Kevin Betsy...............7

Andy Sandell.............7

Ben Strevens............7

Stuart Beavon...........5

Lewis Montrose..........4

Jon-Paul Pittman........4

Matt Bloomfield..........3

Four other players have each scored two goals.

Three other players have each scored one goal



Southend Shooting (Top-3) - All Competitions

Barry Corr..........52 on-target...43 off-target...1 against woodwork

Anthony Grant.....42 on-target...48 off-target...3 against woodwork

Ryan Hall............52 on-target...34 off-target...4 against woodwork



Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Competitions

Kevin Betsy............25 on-target...49 off-target...2 against woodwork

Gareth Ainsworth....24 on-target...39 off-target...3 against woodwork

Stuart Beavon........25 on-target...27 off-target...2 against woodwork



Shooting (Club) - League Games Only

Southend...220 on target...228 off target...10 against w'work (Rank-12)

Wycombe...195 on target...267 off target...18 against w'work (Rank-9)



Most Assists

Southend - Ryan Hall.......18

Wycombe - Kevin Betsy.....7



League Form Guide

All Season


Southend...Pld: 45...W: 16...D: 13...L: 16...Pts: 61...Pts per game: 1.36

Wycombe...Pld: 45...W: 21...D: 14...L: 10...Pts: 77...Pts per game: 1.71



First-half of the season

Southend.....Pld: 23...W: 8.....D: 5...L: 10...Pts: 29...Pts per game: 1.26

Wycombe.....Pld: 23...W: 11...D: 7...L: 5.....Pts: 40...Pts per game: 1.74



Second-half of the season

Southend......Pld: 22...W: 8.....D: 8...L: 6...Pts: 32...Pts per game: 1.45

Wycombe......Pld: 22...W: 10...D: 7...L: 5...Pts: 37...Pts per game: 1.68



Last Five league Games

Southend.....DWWDD - 9 points (Rank-4)

Wycombe.....DDDWW - 9 points (Rank-5)



Last Five League Games (Away)

Southend.........LLLDD - 2 points (Rank-21)



Last Five League Games (Home)

Wycombe......DLWDW - 8 points (Rank-13)



Against Top Half Opposition

Southend........Pld: 23...Pts: 29...Pts per game: 1.26...(Rank-8)

Wycombe........Pld: 22...Pts: 31...Pts per game: 1.41...(Rank-4)



Against Bottom Half Opposition

Southend........Pld: 22...Pts: 32...Pts per game: 1.45...(Rank-16)

Wycombe........Pld: 23...Pts: 46...Pts per game: 2.00...(Rank-3)



Previous Meetings

In 8 previous meetings there have been 4 wins for Wycombe, 2 for Southend and 2 draws.

At Adams Park there's been 1 win for Wycombe, 1 for Southend and 1 draw.

1997/98 Lg1: Wycombe 4 Southend 1

2004/05 Lg2: Wycombe 0 Southend 1

2009/10 Lg1: Wycombe 1 Southend 1



The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Neil Swarbrick from Lancashire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2005.

His last Wycombe game was a 1-0 defeat at Lincoln in March 2008. During the current campaign he's issued 6 red and 99 yellow cards in 38 games.



Prediction

Wycombe Wanderers 2 Southend United 1




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The Journalist

Writer: Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday May 5 2011

Time: 2:23AM

 

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